Having praised the Nike+ iPod gadget to the skies a couple of days ago, for its accuracy, its user-friendliness and, heck, just for its all round wonderfulness, I today discovered that it is not a star on ice.
You see, the North of England, where I currently reside, is in the grip of a terrifying cold spell sent by arctic demons with a view to destroying our economy and disrupting our whole way of life. Which, in terms of the British weather, means that the temperature is down as low as -9 degrees at night, causing something of a frost in the morning. A frost that is now lasting most of the day, in places where the sun doesn’t shine, if you’ll pardon the expression.
Now, I know all about the ice storms in North America, blizzards in Siberia and Avalanches in the alps. But look, those guys expect extreme weather and are fairly well-prepared for it. In the UK, our entire transport infrastructure can be brought to a shuddering halt by 2 inches of snow…
So anyway, if you’re British, we’re at the dawn of a new Ice Age. And if you’re reading this from outside the UK, it’s a little bit icy out there. Which brings me to the big cold-weather failing of the otherwise fairly splendid Nike+ unit.
You see, the Nike+ calibrates itself by asking you to run exactly 400m and then telling it when you’re done. In this way, it measures your average stride length. And so, particularly if you’ve performed this calibration after running a couple of miles, and are therefore taking your normal strides, rather than the long strides of a fresh runner or the tiny strides of someone at the end of a marathon, then the unit is going to be pretty accurate in normal use.
But then, when you go out for a run on icy streets, you will inevitably take smaller strides in an attempt not to fall over, and your six mile run will suddenly become 6.7 miles, according to the Nike+ unit, thus messing up all of the figures on your otherwise accurate Nike+ web page.
Obviously, running on ice is a reasonably rare occurrence. Even so, it possibly suggests that Nike could profitably give some thought to allowing users to rectify inaccurate mileages on the website; which would make the whole Nike+ concept even better than it already is, and by some distance.